Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Quantifying ground subsidence associated with aquifer overexploitation using space-borne radar interferometry in Kabul, Afghanistan

Lookup NU author(s): Gauhar Meldebekova, Chen YuORCiD, Professor Zhenhong Li, Dr Chuang Song



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020 by the authors.Rapid population growth combined with recent drought events and decades of political instability have left the residents of Kabul facing water scarcity, significantly relying on groundwater. Groundwater overexploitation might have induced various magnitudes of ground subsidence, however, to date, no comprehensive study of ground subsidence in Kabul has been conducted. In this study, we investigated the spatio-temporal evolution of ground deformation phenomena and its main governing processes in Kabul from 2014 to 2019 using C-Band Sentinel-1 derived Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) time-series from both ascending and descending orbits to extract the two-dimensional (2D) surface displacement field. Four subsidence bowls were distinguished with highly variable spatial extents and deformation magnitudes over four separate aquifer basins, with the maximum value of -5.3 cm/year observed in the Upper Kabul aquifer basin. A wavelet analysis suggests that there is a strong correlation between the groundwater level variations and subsidence. Investigation of hydrogeological data further reveals that the observed subsidence could be attributed to the presence of highly compressible clayey soils. This detailed space-borne regional survey provides new insights into the main governing mechanism of land subsidence in Kabul and may direct better mitigation plans of potential hazards.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Meldebekova G, Yu C, Li Z, Song C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Remote Sensing

Year: 2020

Volume: 12

Issue: 15

Print publication date: 01/08/2020

Online publication date: 31/07/2020

Acceptance date: 28/07/2020

Date deposited: 25/11/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2072-4292

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/RS12152461


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric